India

Xiaomi has become an undisputed leader by market share

Can Samsung turn the tides this year?

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For more than a year, Xiaomi has been leading the Indian smartphone market in terms of market share and there’s no stopping them. The brand has single-handedly managed to oust local brands like Micromax, and even experienced players like Samsung have taken a hit.

According to IDC, in Q4 2018, Xiaomi managed to grab an astounding 28.9 percent of the market, followed by Samsung at 18.7 percent. While Vivo and OPPO have managed to grab a decent 9.7 percent and 7.1 percent respectively, their rate of growth has slowed down considerably.

If we consider the complete year of 2018 against 2017, Vivo has managed to grow just 0.6 percent year-over-year and OPPO actually dipped by 0.3 percent. The report also says that online-focused brands drove the online channel share to an all-time high of 38.4 percent. On the other hand, offline sales registered a meager 6.7 percent growth.

During the last quarter of 2018, Realme managed to grab quite a huge chunk of the market with a share of 7.5 percent. The sub-brand of OPPO was launched just half a year back and has already released a wide array of phones.

The average selling price of phones continued to be in the budget segment at roughly US$ 158 (INR 11,000). More than half of the shipments belong in the US$ 100 to US$ 200 segment, and that’s where brands intend to lead.

In the end, Xiaomi shipped more than 40 million units in 2018, followed by Samsung with almost 32 million. Samsung had been relatively silent last year, but has now changed strategy with the M-series launch. The South Korean giant is focused on taking back the budget and midrange segments by reportedly launching a plethora of phones in the coming months.

Lastly, OnePlus has once again emerged as the leader in the premium segment, followed by Samsung and Apple in the super-premium segment.

Apps

Google is under investigation for abusing Android

Dominating the market comes with a price

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Google has often been accused of monopolizing the smartphone market with the use of Android. While Android as an operating system is open source and anyone is free to make or use the system however they wish, Google’s push of its apps is a bigger problem.

Android is maintained by the search engine giant and the code is available for everyone’s use. But, Google pushes its range of apps in stock Android like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, YouTube, and more. Many accuse the company of forcing itself upon users and blocking the competition from a fair chance.

India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been reviewing Google’s case for the last six months. The enforcement agency is currently at a preliminary stage and no official release has been made. Google, as well as CCI, have declined to comment.

The European Commission found Google guilty of dominating the market since 2011 and it’s abusing its standard practice of installing Google apps. The investigation led to a US$ 5 billion fine from the antitrust agency.

Google and CCI have met in recent months and the complaint was filled by a “group of individuals.” The agency has a track record of taking years to finish or conclude a case and we never know when a verdict might actually come.

Although, the CCI did impose a US$ 19 million fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position.

Android has a massive 85 percent market share and almost every Android phone ships with Google’s suite of apps. These apps, in return, help the search engine push ads to the user and generate revenue for the company.

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Accessories

Xiaomi puts up new sports shoes for crowdfunding in India

It doesn’t have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi

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Image credit: Xiaomi

For those who are unfamiliar, Xiaomi is not all about electronics. If you visit their Mi Stores, you’ll see a variety of products from phones and TVs to rice cookers and backpacks. Adding to the plethora of products under the umbrella of Xiaomi is the Mi Men’s Sports Shoes 2.

Xiaomi’s venture into footwear is not new; they released a few smart shoes already in China and select markets. This newest one is available in India on the company’s crowdfunding platform.

The shoes are currently priced at INR 2,499 or roughly US$ 35 during the funding period. It’ll go up to INR 2,999 or US$ 42 once they go sale, so you might want to pitch in before it starts shipping in March.

Image credit: Xiaomi

You might be thinking what kind of shoes Xiaomi is offering here. As listed on the crowdfunding page, the Mi Men’s Sports Shoes 2 (quite a long name) has a “5-in-1 Uni-Moulding Technology” which combines five different materials to minimize wear damage. It also has a “10-fishbone structure” for improved balance while offering arch support.

It doesn’t have any batteries or Bluetooth like previous Xiaomi smart shoes, so this is one of the Xiaomi products you can throw in the washer for easy cleaning.

Like Xiaomi’s phones, the available colors are limited to blue, black, and dark gray. If you want your own, we highly suggest signing up and ordering immediately here.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi’s AirDots Pro is the latest AirPods copycat

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India

OPPO K1 is a budget phone with an in-display fingerprint scanner

Premium features at an affordable price

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OPPO launched the K1 today in India, and it’s the first phone in the new K-series. With the new lineup, the brand intends to deliver premium features at an affordable price. With Xiaomi already leading the charts and increasing aggression from Samsung, OPPO is gearing up for the battle as well.

The OPPO K1 looks strikingly similar to the Realme U1 and comes with a gradient back. The front has a 6.4-inch Full HD AMOLED display along with a water-drop style notch. The screen gets Gorilla Glass 5 protection and has a high screen-to-body ratio of 91 percent.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 660 processor, coupled with 4GB of RAM. It comes with 64GB internal storage that can be expanded using a microSD card. For authentication, it has an in-display fingerprint scanner as well as face unlock.

The rear has a 16-megapixel primary camera, paired with a 2-megapixel secondary camera for depth detection. The front has a 25-megapixel selfie shooter that comes with AI-based beautification features and 296-point facial recognition. The rear camera is capable of capturing portrait pictures as well as automatic scene recognition.

Backing these internals is a 3600mAh battery and Android 8.1 Oreo-based ColorOS 5.2.

It’s priced at INR 16,990 (US$ 235) and will be available via Flipkart from February 12. Launch offers include 10 percent instant discount for Citibank cards and Flipkart’s buyback guarantee.

The OPPO K1 will be competing against the Redmi Note 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy M20, Nokia 6.1 Plus, and the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2.

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